Posts Tagged ‘College World Series’

Let the Road Trip Begin – Part 1

meatbeach

OK, so it’s not really a road trip. I’ll be flying a lot, and I believe there are plans to go on a ferry as well. But the fact remains that I’m going on the road, which always means one of you might see me out and about in your town.

First of all, I’m flying up to Philadelphia to meet up with my basketball season partner, Marco. I’m going to laze around the museum and look at the Rocky statue on Friday. On Saturday, Marco and I will journey a bit farther northward to take part in Blogs with Balls, so if any of you bloggers areĀ  planning to be there, look for the big guy with a black-and-white beard. I’m sure I’ll have a nametag of some sort, and it will say Eric Angevine.

The next day, I fly out of Philly to Kansas City, meet up with my dad, and drive a couple of hours northward to Omaha to catch a couple of days of the College World Series. I was already excited to see Rosenblatt Stadium and do a little reporting and picture taking, but then it turns out that my hometown Virginia Cavaliers will be there as well. Bonus. I’ll be there writing a story abou the demise of Rosenblatt for ESPN.com, so again, if you see me, you can surreptitiously check my nametag to make sure it’s me before you accost a stranger.

Since my story for ESPN’s travel section will only use a fraction of the information I gather on my field trip, Bus Leagues readers can look forward to full interviews and photos when I get back.

Also, I call this part 1, because later this month, OMDQ and I will be meeting in a city on the Atlantic seaboard to watch some baseball together. But that’s his road trip, and he’s going many other places during it, so I’ll let him tell you about it when he’s ready.

Hope to see some of you in Philly, NY, or Omaha!

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Never Been to Rosenblatt? Act Quickly.

rosenblatt_stadium_panoramic_view

I have a friend from my college days in Kansas named Dave. He and I have been friends for about 20 years, and the basis of our relationship has gone through many phases. In college, enormous gin and tonics served in 32-oz. Big Gulp cups were the start of our bond. Later, food ruled the day, as we experimented with various “food highs” brought on by the overconsumption of ribs, pizza, hot dogs, or whatever we could find lying around. More recently, we share stories about our kids and our more moderate habits are on display.

Throughout that entire time, there has been one enduring constant – baseball. One of our big dreams is to take a buddy trip to the College World Series in Omaha. We never did it while we lived in the midwest and it would have been easy, so now we will have to work a little harder, as Dave would have to come from Denver, and I would have to travel from Virginia.

rosenblatt_statueBut the dream is still there, and the timetable is a bit accelerated now. Seems the Omaha Royals are building a new downtown stadium (who isn’t?) and the mayor of Omaha isn’t willing to keep venerable Rosenblatt stadium around just for the Series. Which makes sense – keeping something that big around for an event that happens one month out of the year is not economically sensible. But many, many people will miss the friendly confines of Rosenblatt.

So if, like Dave and I, you’ve always dreamed of taking in the CWS in its original glory, make your travel plans right now. I’m sure the new place will be nice, but Rosenblatt was built in 1948 and has a ton of history behind it. This is one of those things you don’t want to regret having never done.

NCAA Baseball Regionals Set

If you yearn for a playoff atmosphere in June, there’s not much for you in MLB or the Bus Leagues. Fortunately, we have college baseball, which starts the season in the frigid months so it can coincide with kids actually being in school instead of on beaches somewhere.

Friend of the site Brian Foley has been running the highly successful College Baseball Blog for a couple of years now, and he and his staff have done their usual bang-up job of previewing the early rounds that lead up to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. Check up on your local teams by reading the capsules below:

Athens Regional

Ann Arbor Regional

Baton Rouge Regional

Cary Regional

College Station Regional

Conway Regional

Coral Gables Regional

Fullerton Regional

Houston Regional

Lincoln Regional

Long Beach Regional

Raleigh Regional

Stanford Regional

Stillwater Regional

Tallahassee Regional

Tempe Regional

I’m more than a little bummed that my hometown U. of Virginia squad won’t be hosting a regional this year. They flopped at home the past couple of years and failed to advance, so maybe it’s just as well that they’re being shipped out to Fullerton, where the Titans will be facing the pressure of moving on in front of a home crowd.

Thanks for keeping us up to date, Brian! There’s nothing quite like the *PING!* of the bat in early summer.

A Stadium Dilemma in Omaha

This is one of those deals where you can’t make everyone happy. Omaha, Nebraska is the legendary home of the College World Series. Creaky Rosenblatt Stadium has had numerous face-lifts, but the NCAA has been hinting that they’d like a more high-end home for one of their signature events. In order to hold off other municipalities that would enjoy the reported $40 million in enhanced economic activity that the Series generates, the city has proposed a swanky new $100 million park that seats 24,000. Old-timers grumble, but time marches on, eh?

Well, they’re not the only ones who aren’t crazy about the new plan. The Omaha Royals, the triple-A counterparts to the Kansas City club, don’t exactly love the idea of playing in an echo chamber all year long:

The team averages fewer than 5,000 fans a game and would prefer a 7,500- to 10,000-seat facility to capture the intimacy that these games thrive on. At Rosenblatt — which is already too big, with a capacity of 23,145 — empty chairs at Royals games far outnumber fans.

Alan Stein, who with a partner owns 50% of the team (investor Warren Buffett and fellow Omahan Walter Scott each owns 25%), said he would prefer a ballpark with amenities popular elsewhere. Zephyr Field in New Orleans features a pool and two hot tubs. The ballpark in Jacksonville, Fla., has a putting green. “Those things go in the outfield,” said Mr. Stein, who also owns teams in Kentucky and Michigan. But in Omaha’s plan, he added, “the new stadium has seats there.”

If he doesn’t like it, Mr. Stein could leave. He is negotiating with Omaha but said at least four other municipalities would build him a ballpark if he chooses to move.

[Wall Street Journal]

It seems fairly certain that some modern facility will be built. The city of Omaha can’t let nostalgia push the future out of Nebraska. So all that remains is the question of appeasing the Royals. Can the Royals swallow the notion of a ballpark in which they are (as usual) second-class citizens? Is there another municipality of equivalent size that can spirit them away?

My humble opinion is that the Royals should stay put. I can’t imagine they’ll find a better home than they have in Omaha. Perhaps they can come up with a revised seating plan that keeps the asses to seats ratio in good proportion, and we can keep this midwestern baseball heaven humming right along.